Blu-ray Review: Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later

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Distributor: Echo Bridge Entertainment

Release Date: 03/May/2011

Region: A & B

Length: 86 min

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC, 25 Mbps)

Main Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz, 1.6Mbps)

Subtitles: None

Ratio: 1.78:1

Note: There is also a non-anamorphic DVD release of this film.

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“I stopped watching and caring after three. I just thought that there really shouldn’t have been another movie. That was enough. Far be it for me to say. They pay me every time they make another, so… [Laughs].” -John Carpenter

John Carpenter was asked to write and direct this film, but he turned down the offer. The film was eventually directed by Steve Minor, and the result is often debated by genre fans. There are those who believe it to be one of the better sequels of the series. Others see the film as a pointless attempt to cash in on the teen horror craze. Whatever one’s opinion may be, the film’s success at the box office cannot be debated.

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The Presentation:

3.5 of 5 Screams

The disc is held in a standard Blu-ray case with film related artwork.

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The animated menu contains footage from the movie along with the Halloween theme.

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Picture Quality:

3 of 5 Screams 

This release has gotten a lot of criticism and much of the negativity is due to the altered aspect ratio. I was originally very disappointed that the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio was changed to 1.78:1 in order to fit widescreen television screens. The natural assumption is that they cropped the sides of the image in order to accommodate the new ratio. I was slightly surprised to discover that we are actually seeing more information at the top and the bottom of the screen. While this might not be Steve Minor’s original vision, it does not alter the atmosphere of the film. [Note: Examples of each version are included throughout this review for comparison.]

The transfer isn’t very inspired. There is adequate detail, but there is also a bit of edge enhancement. Banding also becomes an issue on occasion and there are some compression artifacts. Luckily, none of these issues become distracting. This is certainly an improvement over the DVD release of the film.

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Sound Quality:

2 of 5 Screams

This Blu-ray contains a lossless 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track. It seems rather unfortunate to not include a 5.1 track when one was included on the DVD release. The 2.0 track included on the disc is rather lifeless, but extremely clear and quite adequate. The trouble is that there is a better track available and it isn’t included here.

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Special Features:

0 of 5 Screams

The DVD release of the film included a music video (“What’s This Life For” by Creed) and Unmasking the Horror, which was a 19 minute promotional “making of” featurette. Neither of these supplements is included on this Blu-ray disc.

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Final Words:

Halloween H20 is one of the more financially successful films in the Halloween series and the Blu-ray release is a disappointment. Fans will likely want to upgrade for the discs slightly superior image transfer and hold on to their DVDs for its supplemental material.

Review by: Devon Powell